Puffed-Up Post

The June 12 puff piece on Joan Felt (front and center on the front page) left me with a big "so what"? Besides being devoid of anything newsworthy, the article was written by four writers who simply strung together a series of unrelated one-sentence paragraphs, with an occasional longer sentence, such as the long sentence that suggested a mystery because of Felt's association with a guru 20 years ago with questionable credentials. Was your paper desperate for news? Bring back Monica Lewinsky!

-- David F. Wright

Falls Church

Lie Down and Study

"The quick-thinking sound men, seizing the opportunity for a good angle, laid on the couch to the president's left" [Names & Faces, Style, June 11]. Let's review this again, for the benefit of Korin Miller and your grammar-impaired editors: "To lay" is a transitive verb that requires an object, and it means "to put or deposit." The simple past tense of "lay" is "laid," as in, "The chicken laid eggs." "To lie" is an intransitive verb that requires no direct object, and it means "to repose." The simple past tense of "lie" is "lay," as in, "He lay on his bed."

I acknowledge that these two verbs are easily confused, but most of us who were educated before the 1970s have mastered the technique. Your journalists can, too.

-- Sally Cutler

Chevy Chase

Native American Disdain

Your June 10 Style review of TNT's "Into the West" was exceptionally condescending to Native Americans. To say, "Oh heavens, not that again" about the battle of Wounded Knee; to make fun of legitimate names by changing "Drinks Water" to "Drinks Coke"; and to compare the Indian weeping over a death to the advertising campaign in which a Native American sheds a real tear is all blasphemous. You could have written a scathing review without these insidious remarks. You owe American Indians and your (former) readers an apology.

-- Kay Partney Lautman


Grizzled Gaffe

Having enjoyed a camping week at Assateague Island National Seashore when I lived in Washington and at least a dozen Maryland vacations while I lived in Baltimore, I was enjoying your June 5 Travel article about Ocean City until I came across the reference to "gristled bandanaed bikers." My imagination boggled, envisioning bikers made of gristle -- you know, that nasty, chewy, fatty stuff in meat. I assume you meant something like "graying" or perhaps "salt-and-pepper bearded." I do believe that should have been "grizzled" -- with a comma.

-- Ruth E. Thaler-Carter

Rochester, N.Y.

They Have More Saturdays?

The June 6 Letter From Helsinki in Style referred to "the last Saturday of the 22nd week of the year." Just how many Saturdays does Finland have per week, anyway?

-- Chris Miller


Stupid Thing to Say

I can't believe that you told people to look up and down the Severn River when crossing the Severn River Bridge in Annapolis [Sunday Source, June 5]. Drivers should have their eyes on the road, not looking up and down the river. There are accidents almost daily because of drivers doing just that.

When people look up or down the river and the driver slows in front of them, they run into the back of them. These accidents cause tremendous traffic jams when they occur. You owe an apology to all of the people who may be inconvenienced because of your stupid reporting.

-- Bob Klimes


That Joke Isn't Funny

Tom Toles's insight and intelligent humor never cease to enlighten and entertain me -- until last Wednesday, that is. Pedophilia is not funny, ever. So while I am a big Toles fan and I rarely find anything to defend about George W. Bush, I strongly take exception to his June 15 cartoon. And please don't tell me to "lighten up." Children's lives are destroyed every day in this country by pedophiles. A mature society does not treat this lightly.

-- Alice Mason